Function: adjective; slang
Etymology: Hawaii pidgin English
Definition: Large. Big. Massive. Huge/Humongous. Gigantic/Ginormous. Above average in size.
Use: “Whoah, ‘das one bombucha cockaroach!” (Wow, that’s a huge cockroach!”). Or, “I no moah regulah marbles, I only stay get bombucha marbles” (I don’t have regular marbles, only shooter marbles).
Hawaii has a wide variety of mangoes, where while the two most common are the Haden and Pirie, there’s quite a number of exclusive others, including the ‘Shibata’, ‘Ah Ping’, ‘Fairchild’, ‘Gouveia’, ‘Harders’, ‘Keitt’, ‘Momi K’, ‘Pope’, and ‘Rapoza’. Each of which having unique characteristics in level of juiciness, sweetness, tartness, texture, stringiness, size of seed and thickness of skin.
Well, we’ll have to add one more mega-sized variety to that list, aptly named the ‘Bombucha’. Ah, yes my friends, da’ Bombucha Mango. Sounds good to me!
Seriously, this super-sized specimen is actually a Haden mango that was harvested yesterday morning by my coworker Diner F from his tree growing in his yard in the Ewa Beach area. He said this is by far the biggest mango his tree has ever produced in its entire 27 year history of life reaching the sky in Ewa, and we believe it!
Diner F noted that when he plucked it from a very high branch with his 16 ft. pole mango picker, the weight of it caught him off guard, as the extended leverage and gravity kicked in, making a weighty quick drop of the picker pole. Here you see he successfully brought this big baby down in one piece and lookin’ good.
Now notice the size of this “bombucha” mango compared to his hand, keeping in mind, this is the hand of a grown man almost 6 feet tall. Or better yet, look at your hand and then take your other hand and make out the shape of this mango in comparison, and you’ll get a good idea what kind of “whopper” we’re dealing with here.
Exactly how big is it? Well, he weighed it on a postal scale and it clocked in at a hefty 2 lbs. 9 oz., while measuring 7½” in length from base-to-tip and 5½” in diameter at its widest side. I must say, that does qualify this as “bombucha”. It’s amazing that the stem was able to support this 2½-pounder for so long as it matured on the tree.
How does a “Bombucha Mango” taste? Let’s cut it up try it!…
Obviously this isn’t that entire “bombucha” mango in slices, but about the remaining 1/3 of what’s left that filled that entire plate. Walk around a busy office holding a plate of freshly-sliced mango and you know you’re not going far before it gets wiped out.
It was very juicy and still firm, being that he cut it up at the stage where it was partially green, partially ripe. Being at that stage, it had some tang in it, while being mildly sweet. This is actually the perfect ripeness for making Shoyu Mango. I would have preferred if it ripened a few more days, but it was still delicious as is.
Diner F explained that he purchased his Haden mango tree as a sapling (young tree) in a pot from Koolau Farmers way back in 1983. Back then the tree was $30, and he speculates that mango tree saplings are much more expensive in today’s market. Most notable is that this tree had been grafted by the nursery with a branch from a fully-mature Haden tree, so as soon as he took it home, that same year as a sapling it already was bearing fruit! That’s like a 5 year old human bearing a child. Crazy.
In light of this grafting method, Diner F claims there’s a mango tree in the Liliha area that’s been combined with, like, 5 different mango varieties. So that one tree has both Pirie, Haden and several other types. He also pointed out that since his Haden Mango tree has been grafted with another Haden tree from a juvenile age, he can tell the difference with the mangoes that come of that grafted branch compared to the rest of the tree. Very interesting.
While his unusually large Ewa Beach Haden may be the biggest mango he or I ever seen, this is a big world, and there surely have been and will be bigger mangoes out there.
Take for instance this 7½ pounder that hails from Iligan City on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines…
If they didn’t say this was a mango, you’d think it was some sort of melon or squash. But wow, that’s huge.
Right back here in Hawaii, according to the late Honolulu Star Bulletin, in 2006, Kona resident Colleen Porter made it into the Guiness Book of World Records for growing the world’s heaviest mango….
Colleen’s human head-sized mango weighed in at a record-setting 5 lbs. 7 ozs.. Good Lord!
Not that this one here that Chef Chai is holding at the 2009 ‘Mangoes at the Moana’ expo is anything to sneeze at either…
The day an actual mango grows THIS BIG, is the day we know there’s WAY too much radiation on our planet…
Island Insurance is currently running a TV ad campaign on saving BIG $$$ over the competition, using a CGI-generated giant-sized Ulua fish in one spot, and a giant-sized mango in another to depict that big savings. That works.
Now if we can only figure how to grow a mango tree that produces nothing other than gigantic,watermelon-sized fruit, then we’d truly have a new variety us folks here in Hawaii can proudly call the ‘Bombucha Mango’!
P.S. While we’re in “mango madness” mode, let’s recap some of the “Tasty Island” ways to incorporate and eat mango, including my favorite, Mango Bruschetta…
Mango Bruschetta: Sliced fresh Pirie Mango on Toasted French Bread rubbed with fresh whole garlic and drizzled generously with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, finally seasoned with light sprinkling of Hawaiian Salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Mom’s favorite way to eat fresh mango is simply with mayonnaise…
Of course we can’t leave out the mouthwatering Pickled Mango…
Pickled Mango with Li Hing Mui
Finally, the method I think is best for mangoes at the semi-ripe stage like the “bombucha” Haden Mango from Ewa featured here, Shoyu Mango….
Shoyu Mango – Semi-ripe Pirie Mango in a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and sugar.